Nigeria is blessed with natural resources in their abundance. One of them is bountiful agricultural products across the country. Nigeria exports certain farm types of produce. However, it is unfortunate that majority of these products are met with rejection overseas. The Director-General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Mojisola Adeyeye, said that over 70 percent of food exported from Nigeria are rejected abroad. She revealed that this is due to the poor state of export trade facilitation for regulated products leaving the country.
According to a statement released on May 21, 2023, by the agency’s media consultant, Sayo Akintola, the DG revealed this at the official commissioning of the New NAFDAC Office complex at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos. She assured that the incessant rejection of food exports from Nigeria in some European countries and the United States of America will be addressed. To achieve this, there is a need to strengthen the collaboration between NAFDAC and related agencies at the ports in other countries.
Agency collaborates with others at the ports of destination.
“Considering the money spent on getting those products out of the country, it is a double loss for both the exporter and the country,” she said. A trip to NAFDAC export warehouses within the international airport will explain the major reasons for the continuous rejection of Nigerian exports abroad. However, NAFDAC is responding to the challenge by collaborating with agencies at the ports to ensure that goods attain the standard and regulatory requirements of the importing countries and destinations.
The mandate to safeguard the health of the populace is one of NAFDAC’s prerogative. This is achieved through ensuring that food, medicines, cosmetics, medical devices, chemicals, and packaged water are safe, efficacious, and of the right quality, especially in an economy that is overwhelmingly dependent on the importation of the bulk of its finished products and raw materials. The agency needs an effective presence of NAFDAC at the ports and land borders.
Agency works with many security agencies to fulfill their mandate.
Because of this, they work with other agencies in Nigeria and abroad, including the Nigeria Customs Service, the Nigerian Police Force, the Department of State Services, Interpol and even the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Without the Customs agencies, the organization cannot work at the border of the country as well as with agencies at the ports of other countries. Without the police, they cannot do much in terms of investigation and enforcement. A number of policemen are assigned to NAFDAC, and they help with raids or investigations as the case may be.
Meanwhile, it was revealed in a report a while ago that some hazardous pesticides which were banned in the European Union were being used in Nigeria despite NAFDAC’s attempts to clamp down on its importation into the country. The report stated that Nigeria imports 147,446 tons of pesticides annually, which is more than the total imports of Southern Africa at 87,403 tons and that of North Africa at 109,561 tons. Despite the increasing imports, there is no definite record of how pesticides are used.
These harmful pesticides are used in agricultural commodities.
Based on surveys that were conducted, 80 percent of the pesticides used most frequently by small-scale farmers are highly hazardous. Among the most commonly used are atrazine, chlorpyrifos and mancozeb, which are all banned in the European Union. Furthermore, 58 percent of the existing pesticides in the country are already banned in Europe. The banned pesticides are prevalently used for agricultural commodities produced like cassava, yam, maize, fruits, cocoa, beans, among others. These are the products that are, in turn, exported to other countries.